Terre de Sarment
Nose: Jeanne-Marie Faugier
Notes: Grapefruit, Neroli, Cumin // Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Orange blossom, Incense // Benzoin, Tobacco (Amyris wood), Vanilla
Oh! A wonderfully unexpected opening! What pleasantly surprising an opening! The three opening notes of neroli, orange and cumin all coming together, clear and distinctly recognisable, yet each keeping other two in good balance, so that all three seem to dance along in an elegant and harmonious pas; none overpowering the others, showing its own individual beauty, yet making enough space for others to manifest theirs too! Indeed, they graciously support each other, and highlight the beauty of the other notes through own difference; just like in the classical baroque sculptures, where opulence of baroque contra-point only highlight the elegance of the classical geometry, while the latter in retribution pinnacles the dynamic beauty of the counterpoint movement.
Cumin in its naughty animalesque incarnation works wonders with the orange blossom sweetness, and never become too much as graciously tamed by bitterness of neroli. And in return both harnessed not too fall too much into the patterns of cologne (which here is the obvious point of reference), but not the intended pattern). Melange a trois, and what a melange it is!
After a while, the mark of cumin is pressed in a more define manner, becoming pronounced a tiny more in all its uneasily animalic and bodily facets. Terre de Sarment becomes even more curious, if rather uneasy. (There is nothing more delightful to me, then that aspect of a perfume where one struggles with it, not knowing what is about the fragrance that seems to be appealing, yet a moment later, may turn into something rather repulsive. That ability to not be obvious and straightforward, that is what is so joyous and entertaining so far in this Frapin’s perfume). As the cumin makes itself comfortably in the front row, its accentuated presence now brings to my mind Fareb from the Huitième Art, which I rather liked. As the perfume settles down, the intensity of the three prefatory notes alleviates and more spice-drawer’y slant takes on shape and character.
Afer 2h, there is something of that plum-like, liqueur-like cognac-like high percentage spirit liquor maturing. Still, to me the composition is more about spices macerated in the alcohol, rather than liquor infused with spice (if that directional distinction makes any sense to you).
The benzoin on orange has built some nice blossom sweetness, while persisting cumin still shoots up some dirty, sweaty footnotes…
Add an hour, and some tobacco’ish flavour is possibly debuting, but not yet characterful enough; more a promise of something yet to arrive than even a vaguely shadowy figure of it…
The more time passes by and the bases unfold in their cosy comfort, with the lining of (now audibly arrivée) tobacco on vanilla. And while the rendering is quite typical, I very much like its journey: the unfolding and mutating dancing swirls, to and fro, that cuminesque animalism like one shadow transmogrifies into another, recomposes itself, one note into another.
Throughout the all day of writing this post, I was refraining myself from using one particular word, but now I beg pardon, and yield to it… I am thinking of sleaze. Terre de Sarment was today evocative of sleaze. Uhm… a little uncomfortable admittance, but truth be told, ‘sleaze’ is the word that was on my mind… But of course, when I say ‘sleaze’, it is a huge compliment for Frapin. Because it is extremely hard job to bring up some sleaze out from the shadows, and keeping it simple and ‘sleazy’ without becoming tacky, ridiculous, silly, appallingly unsexy, unappetisingly cheap.
(In the contemporary pornified culture, nothing has become more so disappointingly kitschy and cheap than sex).
And so to capture the thought of ‘sexy sleaze’ and not to fall into the trap of all these – that is a grand compliment I can pay to Frapin’s Terre de Sarment for pull that trick very well. Bravo!
Other perfume reviews of the Terre de Sarment: